The Beauty of…

… child labor.  Uh… wait, that’s bad.

The beauty of teaching your children the value of hard work.

Better?  Thought so  🙂

Yesterday afternoon, Ryan and I were trying to clean the kitchen to get ready for small group.  Ryder and Evan were super bored, and therefore, suuuuuuuuper whiny.  Suddenly it dawned on us – why don’t we put them to work?!

Ryan: Hey boys, wanna help Mommy and Dadd?
Boys: REALLY?!  YEAH!!!!!!!!
Me: <seriously?  they want to help clean?  holy cow!>

So we handed them both a damp rag and showed them how to wipe down the baseboards.  Their attention spans only lasted a few minutes, and I’m sure my baseboards aren’t spotless, but they were eager to help, and it allowed us to get our work done without plopping them in front of the TV.

Y’all, I know I can be slow on the uptake with some stuff.  But this is genius.  Why on earth did I wait so long?!

I can remember being a first-year teacher, and realizing that I was not good at delegating responsibility.  Parents were constantly asking what they could do to help, and while I wanted to give them something to do, I couldn’t come up with anything.  I’m a bit of a perfectionist, and didn’t have a lot of extra time to be monitoring whether or not Johnny’s mom was cutting the laminating just right.  Not only that, but since it was only my first year, I didn’t really know what I was doing anyway.  It’s hard to delegate stuff to other people when you don’t have a clue yourself!

I’m beginning to notice the same problem with my boys.  I know they are perfectly capable of doing lots of things (they always clear their own dishes from the table, put dirty clothes in the hamper, and even pick up doggie doo and unload the dishwasher from time to time)… but they don’t often do it my way, and then I have to go back and re-do it anyway, so it’s easier to just do it myself.  Except that it’s not easier, because while I’m taking care of business, my boys are crazy bored.

So I’m learning.  Slooooooooooooowly.

I’m working hard to let go of perfection.  It’s not really that bad of a compromise if it means that my boys are learning new skills, feeling helpful, and staying busy.

So this morning, we played and then went out to get haircuts, and then they both got a case of the crankies.  Instead of having lunch with Daddy, like I’d hoped, we went home.  Normally, I’d just sit and read a book while they rode bikes outside.  But the yard was in need of a spring clean-up, and soon I found myself pulling weeds.  Inevitably, Ryder asked if he could help.  And instead of sighing and saying “In a minute…” I embraced my newest challenge and handed over the rake.


Sure the leaves I’d just raked into a neat pile were spread out all over the driveway in a matter of nanoseconds.  Sure it took us three times longer to get all the trimmings cleaned up and the tools put away.  But their pearly whites gleamed brightly from their filthy faces, the sweat of hard work soaking their hair… and they were so thrilled to be included.  I can only pray they continue to love to help when they’re teenagers!  (HA!  I crack myself up!)

IMG_4372We will soon be the proud owners of a pint-sized rake and push broom, and a set of gloves for Evan since Ryder already has a pair.  🙂


One Response

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  1. Glenna Barr
    Glenna Barr March 25, 2013 at 9:02 pm | | Reply

    So sweet. Yay for the boys!

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